This morning I was very keen on having breakfast at my “China People’s Palace Hotel”.
My reckoning: a true Chinese hotel, host of the most important conferences in China, in the Beijing financial district, many guests, 4-stars. This should provide enough food turnover every day to have a really impressive breakfast buffet.
And I was not wrong. Sadly, my camera’s battery was empty so I could not take any snapshots. A vast variety of Chinese salads, steamed, fried, boiled dishes of all kinds, dim sum, four kinds of soup, fruits, cereals, etc. etc…even for the Western taste: fried and boiled eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, cold cuts, two kinds of bread…
Very Chinese. Big TV screens on every wall so the Chinese could watch the news. Loads of charming young waitresses – but only one who spoke 5 words of English. She understood coffee and bread. She did not understand “soup” or anything else I asked her but surprised me with her knowledge of the words “eggs” and “milk”.
As I was the only foreigner present this multi-language lady was commandeered to be my personal side-kick. I had no intention of eating any bread but as she offered it so nicely I let her bring some. She turned up with white toast bread and a slice of so called Graham bread. As they had a huge toaster I was curious whether to eat the bread toasted or “fresh”. The fresh toast bread was as hard as a brick! I could just crack off a little corner of it with my teeth. I had to put it aside out of concern for my choppers. My assumption: no one ever eats bread there so it had spent many lonely mornings there and got air-dried like a good old parma ham.
Apart from that little glitch (my own fault, trying Western fare in a strictly Eastern environment) everything was wonderful (well, the coffee was that kind of brew that you get in most good hotels and sometimes even on a good flight). To finish off my 1-1/2 hour breakfast I took something that I considered yoghurt – but as the label was only in Chinese I did not realise that it was some kind of soy product. I have to admit that I started to appreciate the taste only towards the bottom of the plastic cup.
For the last few hours I have been dilly-dallying around. My camera is half-charged and I will venture out now. It is cold but sunny as the view from my corner room shows